This New Waterford woman made herself into a company to stay on the East Coast
You know the old saying when one door closes another opens? Heather Deveaux took it to heart when the Sydney, N.S. tech school she taught at closed. “I lost my job on Friday and Monday morning I woke up and started working for myself,” Deveaux recalls in a phone interview with Atlantic Business Magazine. After nine months of freelance writing, she says “the teacher light went off in me.” Realizing she could teach others to be their own company too, Deveaux founded The Freelance Writing School which just celebrated its first anniversary. For Deveaux, staying in Nova Scotia and teaching others how to make a living in rural Atlantic Canada was important.
“For so long I was passive, entitled in the sense that somebody was going to give me a job,” says Deveaux, who now has 26 students enrolled in the school. In the digital classroom, there are no grammar lessons. Instead, Deveaux teaches students to shake off the stereotypes of solopreneurship. “I grew up in a small town like that, where everyone believed in pensions and doing your 40 years to get your gold watch.” Deveaux sees self-employment as a form of innovation because it brings something to the community. “When you are bringing in 50, 60, 70,000 dollars into a small community and spend that money in the community—that’s a real measurable impact.” With class still in session, Deveaux is taking her crusade to the next level by hosting the Atlantic Women Entrepreneurs Summit (AWE-SUM for short) on March 8 in New Waterford.
January saw a series of closures of major national chains in Atlantic Canada. RONA, which announced the closure of 31 stores across Canada in November 2018, closed the doors of four St. John’s, N.L. locations on January 27. Meanwhile, Bowring and Bombay stores in St. John’s are in liquidation mode after seeking creditor protection in 2014. Bowring’s was founded in St. John’s in 1811 by clockmaker Benjamin Bowring. In Nova Scotia, two independently-owned Leon’s furniture stores closed on January 7, 2019, without notice. Both the Coldbrook and Bridgewater locations shut their doors, leaving customers without access to active furniture orders. Nova Scotians looking for new furniture will have to head to Dartmouth, Truro or Yarmouth for the remaining locations.
The Rodd Hotels & Resorts group, which operates seven hotels throughout the Maritimes, has announced they will be reopening the Rodd Colony Harbour Inn in Yarmouth. The hotel has been closed since 2011 after a major renovation and upgrade that is scheduled to be completed by the busy summer season. The Rodd Grand Yarmouth Hotel & Convention Centre is also undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade.
In a January 24 media announcement, J.D. Irving, Limited declared its plan to hire more than 7,500 people across North America over the next two years, with 89 per cent of the jobs to be located in Atlantic Canada. The company’s goal is to keep skilled workers in the region or bring them home again. They also plan to hire an additional 2,500 students between 2019 and 2021.